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Old Chicago

October 1, 2011

  • 5314 S. Westnedge Avenue
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 344-1111
  • Website
  • Menu

I’m taking advantage of sleeping in as much as I can before January.  I know you can’t really bank sleep, but I just want to enjoy it while I can.  Sleeping in so much means J wakes me up most days when she comes home from work.

We needed to drop her car off at Seelye Ford for some repairs and she wanted to do it before I left for work.  When she got home, I rolled out of bed and followed her to the dealership.  Since we still had a little over an hour before I needed to head to work, we thought it would be a good idea to go out for lunch.

We decided to head to Portage to check out the new Old Chicago on South Westnedge near the I-94 interchange.  It’s in the building that used to be Bennigan’s right in front of the Hooters.

I was never in the Bennigan’s before it shut down, but I do know there was an extensive renovation before Old Chicago moved in.

Contrary to it’s name, Old Chicago is not a Chicago chain.  It’s actually based in Chattanooga, TN and the first store opened in Boulder, CO in 1976.  It really doesn’t have anything to do with Chicago other than they serve pizza.  Their pizza really isn’t a true Chicago style pizza…they just call their Deep Dish “Chicago Style” although they do use a little more butter in the crust than the average deep dish which does give it a Chicago flare. 

During the week, Old Chicago does the Rush Street Pizza bar from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM.  Why Rush Street?  My guess is because there is a Giordanno’s on Rush Street in Chicago.  It makes sense and that’s my best guess.

A host showed J and I to a booth on the second tier of a split level dining room near the bar.  The bar…yeah, that’s a really cool feature of Old Chicago and the reason I really like the place.  They serve at least 110 different kinds of beers.  Before moving to Kalamazoo, Old Chicago was the only place I had ever been that had that kind of selection.  It’s still pretty cool because now you can enjoy any number of craft beers along with some pretty good pizza.  Before the place opened, the rumor was that they would have Yuengling but those rumors appear to be false.

Our waitress came over and asked if we were going to do the pizza bar.  We both said yes, so there was really no reason to even look at the menu.  The pizza bar comes with choice of soup or salad.  We both chose the salad with Italian dressing.  It was a pretty basic side salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, and croutons with a thick Italian dressing.  We both ate and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t anything fancy or something to write home about.

After getting our drinks (Pepsi products) we headed over to load up on pizza.  There wasn’t much of a selection on the bar.  There were only three pizzas.  A pepperoni, a veggie, and something else that honestly slips my mind at this point.  There were also breadsticks along with some marinara and a bowl of macaroni and cheese.

I picked up a couple slices of the pepperoni and a couple breadsticks.  J picked up a slice of the veggie and a slice of pepperoni as well as a small scoop of the pasta and a breadstick.

She really liked the breadsticks, but I thought they were a little bland.  There wasn’t much flavor even with the marinara.

The pizza slices we grabbed on this trip were all the thin crust New York style.  The crust had a good snap to it which was perfect for folding over.  There was an abundance of cheese on top of a thin layer of marinara.  Like I do with most chain pizzeria, I loaded up on Parmesan cheese and Red Pepper Flakes.  The thin crust slices were pretty good and I think J agreed.  She seemed to like her veggie slice after she picked off a few slices of mushroom.

On the second trip, they had a deep dish cheese out, so we each grabbed a slice of that.  It’s not quite a true “Chicago-Style” but it does have a pretty good buttery crust which was actually quite crispy.

Our bill for the two Pizza Bar’s and a couple drinks was just a bit over $20.  The best thing about it was that it was quick.  In less than an hour, we had a great, hearty lunch.  As far as casual dining chains go, I like Old Chicago.  It’s not the Chicago style pizza that I crave, but it’s still pretty good pizza.   I only wish I could have drank because there are soooo many beers that I really wanted….just not before work.

New York Style Thin Crust Pepperoni and Bread Sticks

Side Salad w/Italian Dressing

Chicago Style Deep Dish Cheese

Old Chicago on Urbanspoon

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